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Getting Millennials Involved In Politics

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politics
Since our most recent Presidential election, it has been more important than ever for millennials to use their voice in politics. Millennials make up a large portion of the population, and by getting involved, it can create an impact on society. Since The Great Recession, this generation has experienced unique struggles and are rightfully angry. Unemployment was at an all time high and wages fell once it was all over. Millennials are the most educated generation in American history, both in degrees and college graduates. However, what was once a job promised after graduation is no more. Millennials feel the need for a moral rebirth and are getting involved in issues now more than ever.
We got in touch with Bryan Leib, an activist trying to get more millennials involved in politics. Bryan works with nonprofits in Philly and Camden as a mentor for the youth. We asked him about the importance of politics for millennials and ways to get involved. 

Why is it important for millennials to be involved in politics?

It’s mission critical for millennials to be actively involved and engaged in politics in order to influence public policy and to improve our communities. Local politics that is. I'm a big believer that the best position to influence change is at the local level. I know Presidential politics excites a lot of millennials but honestly, that isn't where we can make an impact.

What is the reason most millennials are not involved in politics?

I think it's because of voter apathy and an overall frustration for the political process. I find that most millennials are frustrated with the status quo, career politicians and they don’t think their vote can make a difference. Over the last two years in Philadelphia, we have witnessed a United States Congressman, PA Attorney General, PA State Treasurer, State/City Judges and PA State Representatives convicted of corruption/bribery/racketeering charges. The Philadelphia District Attorney was indicted on +20 federal counts of bribery and fraud. A lot of us are numb to the entire political process because of those reasons and because of the current power structure and lack of accountability. How does a millennial get excited about politics with career politicians like Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D) and Senator John McCain (R) at the top of the power structure in their respective parties.  Both in their 70's and have held office for over 30 years. Average age of Member of the U.S. House of Representatives is 57 years and the U.S. Senate is 61 years. https://www.senate.gov/CRSpubs/c527ba93-dd4a-4ad6-b79d-b1c9865ca076.pdf

What are ways to get millennials involved in politics?

Well, I’ve always suggested that if one wants to get involved with politics that they should volunteer for a campaign or intern in the office of an elected official. Volunteering for a campaign is a sure fire way to get your feet wet and make a substantial amount of political and community connections. Being involved with a campaign from the ground floor through election day is a pretty good primer for anyone who wants to aspire to run for public office office. Another way to get involved is to start attending local civic and neighborhood association monthly meetings. They are typically open to the public, free and donuts are involved.

How did you get involved in politics?

I've always been involved with civic organizations and nonprofits in Philadelphia and Camden. Public service is in my DNA. I personally believe that politics should be 100% public service. Elected officials should show up to work every day with only one agenda item - how do they improve the community and serve the public at large.  My foray into politics was volunteering in the 2015 Mayoral Race in Philadelphia. I started as a part-time finance intern and within a couple months of proving myself to the candidate and campaign staffers, I was attached to the hip with my Mayoral Candidate as his traveling aide. We went all over the city to build new relationships and talk to community members about the issues that were important to them and their families. Shout out to State Senator Tony Williams - he showed me the ropes, put me on the map and is an amazing public servant. For that, I am eternally grateful.

What would the impact be if more millennials became involved?

Game-changer of epic proportions! We have the opportunity to re-write the entire political landscape as we know it today by 1) Voting and organizing in local elections 2) Supporting our fellow millennials in running for public office. Philadelphia millennials are the largest registered voting bloc in the city with +300,000 registered voters. However, in the 2015 Primary for offices like Mayor and City Council - only 12% of registered millennials went to the polls. I attribute his to voter apathy. To put this in perspective, there are 230,356 registered voters between the ages 35-65 who voted in the 2015 Primary. If millennials increased to a 50% voter turnout in Philadelphia then would make up +40% of the total voting electorate. With percentages like that, we can start changing the political landscape as we know it today. The power to change our future lies in our hands.

Is it difficult to stay up to date with politics?

I don't think so. In today’s age of social media, it’s not very difficult to stay up to date on what’s happening in politics. New media organizations like Billy Penn have launched throughout the country focused on keeping our generation informed and engaged. In addition, elected officials are more accessible than ever and if you really want to have a conversation with your elected official, they are probably only a tweet or email away.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in politics?

Start locally by 1) Getting involved in a local campaign or with your local civic association 2) Don't be afraid to run for public office and fight for your community. We can change the political landscape by 2020 by being involved in local politics - I guarantee it! We can make an immediate impact by voting and running for public office at all levels - Congress, Mayor, State House, City Council and City Commissioners. Sky is the limit.

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Business

Succeed As A Veteran Owned Business

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Starting and maintaining a business may be hard work, but can be made easier with the right network. Having the right support and connections may be the thin line between success and failure. If you’re a veteran entrepreneur with a business idea, you can receive funding to help bring those ideas to life. We will explain the steps to succeed as a veteran owned business.

Find Out If You Qualify

If you have previously served in the military and/or have an injury-related disability, you may be eligible for government contracting and additional funding. In order to receive this certification, the individual must own at least 51 percent of the company that they are applying for, and manage the day-to-day operations of the business. There is also a procedure that you’ll need to follow in order to prove your veteran and/or disabled status. In order to prove veteran status you will need to provide a Department of Defense Form (DD214). If you are applying as a service-disabled veteran, you will need to get a letter from the US Department of Veteran Affairs proving that you are actually disabled. In many cases, if you are not interested in securing government contracts for your veteran owned business, these steps are not necessary.

Register with The VA

Another crucial step in the qualification process is to register through the VA or Veterans Affairs. Registering will not only assist with the strategic marketing of your business but will also add a legitimacy factor in being known as a veteran owned business. People are generally supportive of service men and women and want to support your endeavors, so proudly promoting that you have a veteran owned business will add to growth. The VetBiz Registry, which acts as a business database is the first step in registering with the VA. You will need to have your DD214, letter of disability status, tax forms, bank statements, business license, any partner agreements, and some other additional documents may be requested at the discretion of the VA.

Utilize the SDVOSBC

The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act was created in 1999. The goal of this act is to generate over $15 billion of contracting dollars for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. Being that some veterans return from duty with disabilities stemming from conflict, this program sets aside a certain amount of contracts to service them first. As long as you are considered disabled from service no matter your rating, you are eligible to securing a contract. However, if you do have a 100 percent disability rating the government has contingencies in place to allow a spouse or caregiver to run the business in place of the veteran. It’s very convenient and an amazing opportunity for vets who have served to be able to get their ideas out no matter their status.

Marketing Your Veteran Owned Business

Veterans are normally praised and promoted for their service in the armed forces, but the magnitude of entrepreneurship in this demographic is overlooked. According to Forbes, there are over 3 million Veteran owned businesses run in the United States, 5.7 million people are employed by Veterans, and Veterans are twice as likely to own a business than non-vets. These statistics show that there is a strong thread between the personalities of veterans and the interest in entrepreneurship. Strength, discipline, and leadership are all valuable traits to possess in business. Registering your business with BuyVeteran.com can also be a great resource to use for promotional items. When you register you will receive badges to display throughout your business/store, along with apparel (T-Shirts, Hats), Magnets, and other marketing items. Using the local media in your community, as well as social media, can help with promotion. Using your veteran status to appeal to an audience who already has admiration and respect for you will surely render growth.

Know Everything About Your Industry

If your chosen business field is completely out of your realm of knowledge be sure to research as much as possible before requesting support/investors. You should be an expert on your business idea as well as having a solid business plan ready to execute. Doing research includes finding out who your target audience is, how to price your products/services, who your competitors are, and what laws are in place in that industry. Will you need a license to provide certain services? How does paying taxes change for a business owner as opposed to an employee? These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered before you move forward with the business. Once you have completed all these steps you are ready to take on the world as a Vetrepreneur! Good luck!
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Business

Have An Organized Work Area With Grovemade

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A cluttered work space is unappealing. With Grovemade, their unique wool felt desk pad is designed to change your desk experience. By adding a touch of style to your work desk to enhance your productivity, the desk can influence a positive effect on your day. In reducing the stress caused by your packed desk, the desk pad also allows an eased flow for your paperwork by providing a non-slip surface. The surface top will take away all of your concerns from the potential damages related to your desk including the scratches, stains, and heat damage from computers that can devastate a perfectly attractive desk. This will prevent the desk, as well as the office, from looking undesirable. Whether the damage to your desk is from the imprints of pen marks or coffee mugs, the desk pad will ensure the harm won’t happen. “Design inspires what you do”. Grovemade believes that the tools you embrace yourself in have personal correlation to who you are and the meaning behind your work. In other products for your office spaces, Grovemade promotes an organized work area.
 A messy desk creates more negative outcomes than we acknowledge. “Our productivity is impacted by our level of organization,” says Susan Kousek, a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO). Entrepreneurs tend to lose track of time, resulting in a short period of disconnection from the real world. You will then come to realize how cluttered your desk is. With the piles of paperwork, coffee mugs, trash, and more. No matter how busy, you should always arrange your desk. There are five reasons why you should keep an organized work area:

You Can Find Things Quicker

It can be difficult to get anything accomplished if you’re repeatedly losing company documents and you are misplacing important paperwork. Working in an organized environment helps smoothen your work processes and can also make your work more efficient. If everything is in its place, you can find the things that you need in order to complete your daily tasks more quickly. Organizing things to where they belong will create a less surface clutter that will ensure you to know where things are at when you need them. With an organized work area, everything is in reach for you to find and use.

Limit Visual Distractions

The effects of working at a cluttered desk can be noticeably negative. Workers tend to be less productive and efficient when they are in an area with potential distractions. If your leftovers are still affecting you on your desk, it’s time to organize your work area. A cluttered desk will divert your attention away from what’s important. Not only are you distracted, but your coworker’s attention is drifted away as well, wondering when you are going to clean that mess. An office needs order and when you’re not following that guide, everyone is thrown off. 

An Organized Desk Helps You Remember Important Tasks

It’s difficult to prioritize your projects if you’re not organized. Visual cues can help you remember as well as prioritize your important tasks. In comparison, a disorganized desk is the same with a packed e-mail inbox. You have to dig through the spam in order to find that important email, there is always that thought, “What’s important in all of that clutter?”

Company Image

An unattractive work area can be of discomfort to anyone who visits. You want to make your company appear welcoming, especially to potential clients and workers. Whether it is a simple desk cleanup or a makeover with desk pads or plants, these are essential to creating an aesthetically appealing work space. If you’re the only one with a messy desk, you’re the one to blame for impacting the company’s image negatively.

Health Safety

A buildup of dust, lint and pollen can create breathing hazard for everyone in the office, with the possible influence in asthma attacks, stuffy noses, and other harmful health issues. With workers who regularly eat at their desks without cleaning up can attract a multitude of disease-carrying pests, including the cockroaches and mice. Not only do you need to maintain an organized work area, but you need to keep it clean as well.How you design your space can greatly impact your mood and emotion. Most people aren’t always fully aware of it, but your environment has a distinct psychological influence on your subconscious. Becoming more self-aware in how you’re decorating your space will be in consideration towards your personal needs, so the look of your work desk is crucially paralleled to your work attitude. With a cluttered work area, things are more difficult to complete. Organization is the solution to limit these problems. 
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5 Tips On Raising Money

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Entrepreneurs know that raising money to start your business is one of the toughest things you have to do. Competition for funds increase every day so your chances of securing an investment grow slimmer. However, finding an investor is not impossible and fundraising does not need to be stressful. Here are some things you can do to take some of the pressure off and start rolling in investments.

Tell Your Story

Tell them what your company is all about. If you are raising money for a certain purpose, people are more likely to support it if they see or know where their money is going. You have to make investors understand how your product or service will change the lives of your potential customers. In TV shows like Shark Tank it is common to see entrepreneurs give the investors their background and the background of their company in story form. Try to evoke emotion in your investors so that they will be more inclined to write checks.

Determine The Amount of Money You Need

When you’re fundraising for your business, you're using other people's money. Make it easier for them to part with their money by telling them how much you need. Get quotations, documentations such as bills and business costs and your business budget. You need to be able to show investors that there is attractive profitability once the business takes off and the bills are paid.  In this connection, you need to keep your business costs low. Investors like to see attractive profit margins so that they will be able to get a return on their investments as soon as possible.

Approach Relatives and Friends

You can perfect your sales pitch by starting with your family and friends. Invite them to become shareholders of your company by telling them of the advantages of joining you in business. If your relatives like the idea, they become shareholders of the business. However, make sure that you retain majority ownership of your business. If you sell too much, you become diluted. This could spell trouble if you need to raise more funds.

Borrow From Banks

Banks are good options for raising money. You don’t need to give them equity because they will be lending you money. For this option, you need to show banks that you will be able to pay your loan. Documents like cash flow and collateral are needed to secure a bank loan. Generally speaking, banks are more comfortable with lending their money to businesses that have a proven track record. If the business consistently sees profit and this profit is good enough to cover additional debt, then the loan is more likely to be approved. If you’re a startup, you need to prepare a thorough loan package with explanations how your company will grow and repay the loan.

Keep Business Costs Low

Now that you have money, it is normal to be tempted to buy new office equipment like computers, desks and chairs. You have to resist temptation because this is not why you wanted to start raising money in the first place. Burning through your investment is the first mistake new entrepreneurs make. Once business capital has been secured, you need to be careful how you spend it because everything is an expense to your business especially if you’re not profitable yet. Avoid getting burned by cutting down costs like working from your house instead of renting a fancy business address or buying new furniture. It might not sound ideal but the savings can be put in other areas of the business that really need money like new manufacturing equipment, automated software that will make service faster or hiring new people to make more products if supply is behind. Keeping business costs low does not only prevent you from burning through capital but it also improves your profit margin.Starting a business always comes with new financial responsibilities on top of personal expenses like rent, mortgage, student loans, gas and utilities. Many entrepreneurs learn that starting a business is not the easiest way to make money; it is the easiest way to burn through it. Starting a business can be a nerve-wracking track, but it can also be rewarding.
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